Bastet, Baast, Baset, Ubasti, Pasch, Pasht, Ailuros, Aelurus
- A popular ancient Egyptian feline goddess.
- Patron of the sun, the moon, lions, cats, women, sex, fertility, passion and secrets. Also associated with perfume and protective ointments.
- Bast is also known as a war goddess, protector of the lands.
- Originally, Bast was viewed as a fierce lioness, protector goddess of Lower Egypt. She defended the pharaoh and the male deity Ra, giving her the names Lady of the Flame and Eye of Ra. She was also seen as the daughter of Ra.
- Once the Egyptian cultures unified, the fierce lioness war deity Sekhmet became more dominant. Bast was renamed Bastet and began to be associated with domesticated cats and seen as a mother deity.
- The Greeks later associated her with the moon and children, and likened her to Artemis.
- Bast was sometimes depicted holding a ceremonial sistrum (rattle) in one hand and an aegis in the other, the aegis usually resembling a collar or gorget embellished with a lioness head. She is also associated with the all-seeing eye (the utchat).
- Bast was known for her wrath, and was thought to punish the sinful and enemies of Egypt.
- Cats were revered in Egypt, especially due to their connection with stopping the spread of disease by killing vermin.
- As cats were sacred to Bast, and harming one was a great crime.
- Although Bast was widely worshipped, the powerful city of Bubastis (Per-Bast in Egyptian, “House of Bastet”) was the centre of her cult.
- More than 300,000 mummified cats were discovered when Bast’s temple at Bubastis/Per-Bast was excavated.
© West Coast Pagan